A pair of partridges remains stolidly resident in the remnants of my game cover crop. I’m delighted that these birds have stayed around as long as they have, although extended absences have sometimes made me suspect that I’m dealing with wild birds (of which there are one or two still going about on the hill).
As is apparent from the picture above, I haven’t been able to get close enough to properly identify these birds as wild or released, let alone take a decent picture. I have to suspect that they are both released, but there was some excitement when I found that one of them did not have its leg ring on last week. However, I’m afraid I think that rather than attracting wild stock, the leg ring simply fell off.
When I go into the cover crop to check my traps, I can hear them growling and skrieking away to themselves in the rushes, and it’s no surprise that grey partridges once did well in rough hill country. They are extremely difficult to spot against rushes and blow grass – a fact which gives me great hope for the future of grey partridges on the Chayne. If they can keep their heads down when they’re in the open and don’t mind waiting a couple of years for my new hedges to start taking shape, there is actually some pretty good hill partridge habitat up there.
If this single pair is still in position seven months after the release of just six or seven birds, I can’t wait to see how they will get on this year when (all being well) I might be able to field a few dozen poults. In the meantime, the breeding pairs have been switched on to breeder pellets, having been wormed and dosed. Fingers crossed that it won’t be too long until the first egg appears.